The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop Giveaway!

FinalBlogHop581 Hello, friends! April 7th is almost here! And to celebrate only 8 more days until my official book release, my talented baker friends and I have a super fun and exciting week planned for all of you filled with recipes from my book (with a few "springy" twists) and amazing prizes, and we're calling it The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop :) I promise that you don't want to miss any of this! Here's the skinny: Each day this week several awesome food bloggers will be sharing their take on different sweet recipes from my book on their blogs (total of 12). I will updating this post several times per day by adding clues (schedule below)--each hint will help you find your way to them all, one by one. Every time you find one, hop back here and enter the giveaway (below) for a chance to win all of these amazing prizes, valued at over $500 and open worldwide! (I will also be sharing links to these mystery posts on the Sweetapolita facebook page and twitter, so you can check there as well!) Fat Daddio’s Cake Pans: I use these every day! The winner will receive three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans! 2. KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Series in the colour of your choice: Hooray! 3. Teal Sprinkle Flats: Well, because they're just too darn cute. 4. Blue Silicone Spatulas Set: Anything colourful just makes baking that much better. 5. Bakelicious Nesting Mixing Bowls: Love these! 6. Jessie Steele Gingham Oven Mitt with Bow: Sweet and stylish. 7. 5 LBS Rainbow Sprinkles: Yep. 5 pounds! pinkwhisk 8. Bakelicious Adjustable Rolling Pin: Functional and super cute. What more do we need? 9. Pink Sweetheart Apron: Pretty as heck. 10. Pink Icing Cupcake Pillow: Sweet dreams. 11. Cupcake Frosting Flavored Toothpaste: My cakelets are begging me to stock this in bulk. 12. Fat Daddio's Fondant: Nothing inspires fancy cake goodness like a tub of pink fondant! 13. Summer House Cake Tin: Lovely cake tins forever. And ever. (#1 & 12 courtesy of Fat Daddio's, #2 courtesy of Clarkson Potter and all other prize courtesy of Sweetapolita) As mentioned above, here is the schedule (EST) listing when I will be posting the clues here on this blog post, so be sure to check back often! Hint1 Hint2 Hint3 Hint4 Hint5 Hint6 Hint7 Hint8 Hint9 Hint10 Hint11 Update: Friday, April 2nd--Hi guys! Sorry for the confusion, but this recipe hasn't been posted yet (will be soon!), so you get a free entry :) Here's the answer: Can You Stay For Dinner. Good luck with the giveaway draw! xo Hint12 Good luck everyone! And if you haven't yet entered The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway + Bonus How-To Video, you still have time! Thank you so very much for all of the support and love, my friends! 
Rosie Alyea
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blackandwhitetall2 copy

"Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake

"Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita Hello, hello!  Spring has sprung (sort of), and while the slightest hint of birds in the yard or mild breezes uplift me to a much-needed post-winter place, I have to admit that perhaps the most exciting part of spring is the release of incredible and inspiring cookbooks! The recipe for this towering stack of maple, mascarpone, ganache and chocolate pancake goodness I made above, fittingly named the Black-and-White Pancake Cake, comes from my dear friend, Shauna Sever and her latest book Real Sweet: More Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars, just released one week ago! Congratulations, Shauna! realsweetcover So, as the title indicates, Real Sweet is filled with glorious treats made from all natural sugars--everything from maple syrup to muscavado, but don't let the word "natural" confuse you with anything less than awesome. I mean that and I don't say this lightly, truly. As she explains in the book, this book is not about "diet-y" recipes, but rather full on flavour and satisfaction (I mean, look at the cake I made above!). And, as Shauna says, while sugar is sugar, she believes these less processed sugars and sweeteners have their place in a balanced life, and I agree whole heartedly. Not only has she created more than 80 incredibly tempting natural-sugar-and-sweetener recipes, but she has managed to give every recipe in the book a modern spin, which as a fellow cookbook author and baker, I can say is no small feat! Of course, just like her blog and other fabulous books, her witty and known-her-your-whole-life energy seals the deal. I adore this book. She divides the recipes among All-Day Snacks and Lunch Box Treats; Bakes Sales and Edible Gifts; Picnics and Potlucks; Candies and Confections; Dinner Party Fancies; Spoonable Sweets; and Frostings, Fillings, and Accoutrements--yep, she's got us covered! Some of the recipes I'm most excited to make: Maple Spun Sugar, Honeycomb Candy, Toblerone Tart, Maple Marshmallows, Five-Flavors Party Cake, and more. Dying. This book has spun me into a baking tizzy. What I'm most excited about, is that I suddenly feel armed with this whole new world of baking, and not just as alternate, more "natural" options, but just across the board--I am inspired. "Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita So pure pancake-y decadence, yep. The fluffy maple and chocolate pancakes paired with the creamy richness and tang of the mascarpone filling, and of course the gloriously oozy and intense dark chocolate ganache. Think of this cake as more of a dinner party dessert, than a (clearly magnificent but likely a little over the top) breakfast meal. Although, come to think of it, what an amazing addition to brunch or any-day-of-the-week dinner. Just saying. "Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita Since I don't make a ton of pancakes (truth be told, it's one of my major weaknesses, so I have to avoid whenever possible!) mine weren't perfection, but this was, honestly, so much fun to make. It was also surprisingly doable! Simply cooking the pancakes and creating the two quick and easy fillings, and then stacking. You can even make the cake a day ahead, which we always love, right? So here's the recipe for this stunning stack o' yum, as written in Real Sweet:

Black-and-White Pancake Cake

Talk about a showstopper! A stack of traditional flapjacks with butter and syrup is fabulous enough as it is, but here we're taking that idea into mind-blowing dessert territory. Maple-sweetened chocolate cake batter is cooked up like pancakes into thin layers and then sandwiched with lost of maple cream that beckons for a covert finger swipe. A few hidden slicks of bittersweet chocolate ganache add a major swoon factor to this over-the-top sweet stack.

Pancake Layers:

  • 1 batch of Maple Chocolate Cake batter:
  • 1 1/2 cups 6 3/4 ounces/192 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup 2 1/2 ounces/72 grams unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup 11 7/8 ounces/242 grams 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup 11 7/8 ounces/336 grams pure maple syrup (dark or very dark preferred)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup 2 ounces/57 grams grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup 4 ounces/113 grams water

Cream Filling:

  • 1/2 cup 4 1/2 ounces/120 grams heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup 4 ounces/113 grams mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 1 1/8 ounce/32 grams pure maple syrup (dark or very dark preferred*)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

Ganache Filling:

  • 5 ounces 142 grams bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), chopped
  • 6 tablespoons 3 ounces/85 grams heavy cream

Special Equipment:

  • A cast-iron griddle (about 10 x 17 inches in size **)
  • A very thin (flexible, metal spatula, such as a fish spatula)
  1. Preheat a griddle over low heat for at least 10 minutes. (You want the griddle nice and hot over as low heat as possible to avoid burning the pancakes and to give them ample time to cook through.)
  2. Make the pancakes: Whip up a batch of Maple Chocolate Cake, adding the water to the wet ingredients before whisking the batter until smooth.
  3. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the water and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Using a whisk, energetically blend the batter by hand until smooth and thick, about 1 minute.
  6. Spray the griddle generously with nonstick spray. Making 2 pancakes at a time, pour two 1/2-cup scoops of batter onto the griddle. Use the back of a spoon to gently swirl and coax the pancakes into 7-inch circles. Cook the pancakes until the edges appear dry and set and bubbles are no longer popping on the surface, about 4 minutes on the first side. Use a thin, flexible metal spatula to gently flip the pancakes. Cook about 2 minutes more, or until the centers of the pancakes spring back when lightly touched. Remove the layers to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the batter scooping and cooking process until you have 8 cake layers.
  7. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and place 4 cake layers in a single layer on each sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Make the cream filling: Pour the cream into a a medium bowl. Whip the cream on high speed to stiff peaks. In a separate medium bowl, place the mascarpone, maple syrup, and vanilla bean paste. Beat on low speed, just until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, about 30 seconds--don't overbeat, or the mascarpone cheese will seize. Gently fold in the whipped cream until smooth.
  9. Make the ganache filling: Combine the bittersweet chocolate with the cream in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave on high power for 45 to 60 seconds. Whisk the ganache until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and has the texture of chocolate pudding. Remove about 2 tablespoons of ganache to a small bowl and set aside for garnish.
  10. To assemble the cake, remove the pancake layers from the refrigerator. Inspect the layers; choose the most handsome to be the top layer and set it aside. Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter or cake stand. Dollop on 1/3 cup of the maple mascarpone cream and use a small offset spatula to smooth it out, with a 1/2-inch border all around. Place a second layer on top, and press lightly to help it adhere. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of ganache onto the layer, also with a 1/2-inch border around the cake. Continue the layering process 6 more times, alternating maple mascarpone cream and chocolate ganache with the layers, placing the best-looking cake layer on top.
  11. To the remaining chocolate ganache, add a drizzle of cream, only about 1/2 teaspoon or so, just enough to thin it to a honeylike consistency (warm the ganache in the microwave for about 10 seconds or so to loosen it up first, if necessary). Drizzle the ganache artfully over the cake. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes before serving. The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance (let it soften on the counter for 15 minutes before slicing).

TIP: Be prepared to lower the heat accordingly if the pancakes are threatening to burn--just as with making regular breakfast pancakes, depending on your griddle and your stove, it may take a bit of adjusting to the heat just right. Making a tiny test pancake before cooking the rest of the layers can let you know if you're on the right track.

    *With all the chocolate powder in this recipe, using the darkest maple syrup in the cake and the filling will help the maple flavor come forward a little more.
    **You can also use a very large heavy-bottomed skillet; you'll just have to cook the pancakes one at a time, and the cooking time may vary.

    Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • As recommended in the recipe, I used Dark Maple Syrup for the Maple Chocolate Cake batter--this is a must to really taste the maple among the intense chocolaty cake. So good.
    • For flipping pancakes, I use this Large Stainless Steel Slotted Turner, which is super thin and easy to use.
    • When filling the mascarpone layers, I used a large Pastry Bag fitted with large star tip #1M Star Tip, just for fun. This creates a lovely swirly effect, but you certainly don't need to. However, if you don't already own this decorating tip, I highly recommend it--it makes for a perfectly frosted cupcake, piped cake border and more.
    Be back soon with more book excitement (12 more days until release!), and more sugar-filled recipes!
    Rosie Alyea
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    The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway Winners Announced!

    bakebookcover650 Winners! Thank you ALL so much for your pre-orders! You guys rock. Here are the 5 winners of The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway (winners will also be notified by email)! Kiva Swift Christy Lambert Cheri Kelly Heather McCants  Holly Lewsey Congratulations! xo


    It's almost here! April 7th is just around the corner, and, is it just me or has it felt like a hundred years since I announced my cookbook was in the works? And now it's just about here! I would love your support--it would mean so much to me if you pre-ordered the book. xo Here's a sneak peek (for corresponding recipe pages and to learn more about what's inside, see My Book): [caption id="attachment_11876" align="aligncenter" width="650"]RainbowSprinkles650 rainbows & sprinkles cake[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11880" align="aligncenter" width="650"]chalkalotcake650 chalk-a-lot cake with edible chalk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11881" align="aligncenter" width="650"]watercolor graffiti cookies watercolor graffiti cookies[/caption] The even more exciting news is that it is available for pre-order now, and my publisher, Clarkson Potter, and I have some very special bonus goodies ready to giveaway! There are 2 bits of awesomeness for this pre-order fun: First, for everyone who pre-orders my book (ordering before April 6th), or for those who have already pre-ordered the book, you will get my exclusive video tutorial, How to Cover a Cake in Fondant! You will also be entered to win 1 of FIVE (not 1, but 5) of The Sweetapolita Bakebook Kits! This "kit" includes all of my favourite items used throughout the book. Let's take a closer look at these goodies: bakebookkitsweetapolita This is like looking into my kitchen on any given day, and I'm so excited that 5 of you will receive all of these goodies! Here's a little more about each prize: 1. A signed copy of my book! So you've pre-ordered one, and now you can either keep the signed copy for yourself and share the other as a gift, or keep 'em both just cause, courtesy of Clarkson Potter.  2. Fat Daddio's Cake Pans: These are the pans I've been baking with since the get-go, and I love them. I keep 3 of every size so that I can bake them layer-by-layer, which results in the moistest of cakes. The winners will receive three 8" x 2" round cake pans, courtesy of Fat Daddio's! 3. Rainbow Measuring Spoons: You're gonna need these, trust me. I always have about 3 sets of measuring spoons on the go at all times, and rainbow always wins. (courtesy of Sweetapolita) 4. Pepper Creek Farms Sprinkles: Pretty sprinkles forever! And Pepper Creek Farms knows how to do it right (even the jars themselves are charming). The winners will receive a jar of each Carnival Sprinkles, Pastel Confetti & Sprinkles, Pink Edible Glitter and Amethyst Shimmer Sugar, courtesy of Pepper Creek Farms! 5. Lorann Oils Bakery Emulsions: I use these throughout the book (and on the blog and in my everyday baking), and I love them. These distinct emulsions replace extracts and do no bake out, which means that the flavor stays true and does not bake away in the oven. Each winner will receive a bottle of both Red Velvet and Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsions, courtesy of Lorann Oils! 6. 3-Piece Turquoise Piping Bag Set: You can never have too many piping bags, and these pretty blue reusable ones come in super handy when we're frosting all of those layer cakes and cookies, courtesy of Sweetapolita! 7. Tea & Crumpets Apron: This is one of my favourites, and I suspect my desserts turn out just a *smidge* prettier when I wear this apron. The winner will receive their very own, courtesy Sweetapolita! pinkwhisk 8. My signature sprinkle medley! This is the super fun medley of sprinkles I used to create a colourful border around cakes, top cupcakes with or even decorate entire cakes with (see above Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake). I will create a special batch for the winners, package, and ship it your way with love. 9. AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color 12 Pack Kit: I go through a lot of soft gel paste food colour, and call for it throughout the blog and book--they are simply a must! Each winner will receive a 12-pack starter kit of these soft gel pastes, courtesy of Sweetapolita  10. Callebaut Belgian Chocolate Callets: each winner will receive a 2.5kg bag of the semi-sweet chocolate callets, perfect for all of the chocolate frostings, glazes, and all kinds of other chocolaty-ness in the book, courtesy of Flour Confections! 11. Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder: each winner will receive a 1kg bag of this dark, gourmet cocoa powder perfect for all of the chocolate cakes and cookies in the book, courtesy of Flour Confections! 12. Escali Arti Glass Digital Kitchen Scale: You'll notice that throughout the blog and book I give the ingredient measurements in weight as well as volume, and this is because weighing the ingredients ensures consistent results. I literally could not bake without one! Each winner will receive of these gorgeous scales (in the colour of your choice), courtesy of Sweetapolita. 13. Ateco Frosting Spatulas: Since I started baking cakes, I've used Ateco frosting spatulas--there's no better way to frost a cake! Each winner will receive one small offset spatula, one small straight spatula and one medium straight spatula, courtesy of Sweetapolita. 14. Pink 3 Piece Spatulas Scraper Set: This set is just too cute, and I own a bunch. You can never have too many spatulas, and the pastry brush comes in handy for making the candy recipes and sugar syrups in the book, courtesy of Sweetapolita. 15. AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Pens: Oh how I love these awesome doodling pens, and my cakelets and I use them on cake, cookies, and more. Each winner will receive their own pack, courtesy of Flour Confections!  (You'll notice that several of these prizes come from Flour Confections--they are my awesome, go-to supplier, and ship across North America!) And, as I mentioned above, as soon you pre-order your copy, you will also get immediate access to my new best-ever How to Cover a Cake in Fondant video! Thank you so much for all of your support and baking love. It means the world! Good luck with the giveaway! xo
    Rosie Alyea
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    Sweetapolita Spring Picks Cake Plates

    Spring Picks: Cake Stands!

    Well, it's no secret that I have a thing for cake stands (or when we're feeling fancy, cake "pedestals"), and when I first got into cakery, I would pick up any that caught my eye, and loved to keep them on display in our kitchen for all to see. Of course, where there is a cake, there should be a cake stand. At that time I had about 8 sweet and special stands in an array of colours and styles. And then every time I did a cake for the blog, I would wish I had yet another, so the collection kept on growing . . . Aaaand then I wrote a book. Oh my! Just the idea of photographing an entire book of desserts put my cake-stand-collecting into high gear, and I may have gone into a bit of a buying frenzy. I bought up every single one I fell in love with, and now I have nowhere to keep them all, but love them just the same. So it seems I've become somewhat of a cake stand junkie, and shop for them anywhere and everywhere. After much online browsing, here are some of the charming finds I've got my eye on (and a few I currently own and love): Sweetapolita Spring Picks Cake Plates   1: Loire Glass Blue Square | 2: Petal Pink Scallop | 3: Green Bird & Dome | 4: Mosser Glass White | 5: Rachel Cake Plate with Bow | 6: Whiteware Scalloped | 7: Custom Scalloped Cake Stand | 8: Something Blue | 9: Mosser Glass Buttercream | 10: Hot Pink Melamine | 11: Godinger Amethyst | 12: Teal Soft Rimmed | 13: Blushing Bride Candy-coloured cake stands for all of us, I say! Some are a splurge (#6, 8, 13), some are a total steal (#1, 5, 11), and the rest fall in between, but I'm yet to regret a cake stand purchase. I even use them around the house for display and nifty storage--in the bathrooms and bedroom to hold nail polish and pretty toiletries, in the living room as a candle holder, and more. I find a lot of mine at places like Winner's (Canada's version of Marshall's), which are usually very affordable, since they are often from collections that are discontinued, etc. as well as antique stores (or plain old junk shops), but I also have a lot of luck online. Sites like Amazon, Wayfair, Etsy, and Shop BHG are great shopping resources and shipping is usually very reasonable (and often free on Amazon), and the selections are seemingly endless. In my experience, it's best to nab the ones you love when you see them because, aside from the classics (like Mosser Glass), the styles come and go so quickly as they're constantly being replaced with new ones--much like fashion. And while this is exciting in itself, it can mean a lot of "I wish I would have bought that one when I saw it" moments. So for the love of cake stands, let us shop! Be back soon with more cake!   
    Rosie Alyea
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    Meringue Dream Cake

    Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita Happy Friday! Hello from the land of -25°C and random blizzards! But that's okay. It just makes being inside baking that much more inviting and cozy . . . And when it doubt, make cake. Especially a pastel wintery wonderland cake. It just makes good sense, right? Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita This Meringue Dream Cake is a deep, dark moist chocolate layer cake is filled with a snow white, billowy meringue frosting and colourful crushed baked meringue, and then frosted with more meringue frosting and topped with dark chocolate glaze and more pastel baked meringue and sprinkles. And while I adore pastel and sprinkles more than one girl should, this cake really just comes from my love for the irresistible combination of the chocolaty-chocolate cake and the fluffiest of marshmallowy meringue frosting. I mean, there's just nothing like it. Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita As you probably know, I have a thing for both cake and meringue, and this cake is a simple celebration of those things. And it's amazing how you can bring such classic cake elements to life by adding some super fun splashes of colour and texture. I can't resist the pink, turquoise, snow white and dark chocolate colour combination! Makes the little girl in me giddy. If you make this cake, I definitely recommend having fun with the shapes, sizes, and colours of the baked meringues, since that really is what makes the visual. My inspiration when it came to creating a more elaborate statement with a meringue medley atop the cake comes from some of the over-the-top colourful cakes I have come across lately by fellow caker, Katherine Sabbath. And this cake was so fun to make!  Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita While tempted to tint that beautiful white meringue frosting pastel, it's not often we get to flaunt pure white frosting, you know? There are a few options for white-as-white frosting including Seven Minute Frosting, Marshmallow Frosting, etc. which are all variations of meringue, but usually have corn syrup and what not. This is just a straight Swiss meringue (like when we make Swiss meringue buttercream, minus the butter), so just a delightful fluffing of egg whites, sugar, and vanilla. Heaven. Swiss meringue is thick, glossy, and very stable, so it makes for a lovely frosting, but just keep in mind that it's best to make it right before you frost the cake and best enjoyed on day 1 or 2 (the meringue will become slightly airy and spongy--think meringue on lemon pie). I found that it frosted beautifully, but, again, looks and holds up best on day 1. Pastel Meringues via Sweetapolita My heart belongs to pastel meringues. It just does. Crispy, airy, melt-in-your-mouth, chewy . . . and did I mention downright beautiful to look at? I use powder food colouring with meringues because I find it keeps the texture nice and dry, as with gel paste colour sometimes the meringues get a little sticky and shiny. I love the matte finish and stunning colours you can get with the powder variation. I added some edible glitter to the white meringues before baking, which is hard to capture in the photo, but oh my goodness it looks so twinkly in person! This cake is all about having fun and getting creative. :) Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita Super moist, fluffy, crispy, billowy, chocolaty, pastel goodness. (Oh, and for those of you who are incredibly observant, this slice was from the first cake I made before re-doing it with a much thicker top coat of the meringue frosting--it had to be done!). Pastel Meringues via Sweetapolita Meringues are way too photogenic! You can see a bit more of the glittery twinkle on the white ones in this photo. So wintery and wonderful. Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita Broken up and sprinkled, the meringues make a really delightful addition to the filling, both visually and texturally. Melt-in-your-mouth amazingness. Pastel Dream Cake via Sweetapolita So here is the recipe, friends! xo

    Meringue Party Cake

    Deep, dark, moist chocolate cake filled with billowy meringue frosting, crushed baked meringues, and frosted with more meringue frosting and topped with dark chocolate glaze and colourful baked meringues.

    For the Baked Meringues:

    • 3 egg whites (room temperature)
    • 3/4 cup 150 g superfine sugar
    • Pinch of cream of tartar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Powdered food colour (petal dust in turquoise and pink (or other desired shades))
    • Edible glitter in white (optional)

    For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

    • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/4 cups 450 g sugar
    • 1 1/3 cups 160 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml vegetable oil)
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs (room temperature)

    For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:

    • 10 egg whites
    • 2 1/2 cups 500 g sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Pinch of fine salt

    For the Chocolate Glaze:

    • 5 ounces 150 g best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
    • 3/4 cup 90 g unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    • Pinch of salt
    • Sprinkles (for decorating)

    For the Baked Meringues (French meringue):

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (90°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. Wipe a stainless stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice to eliminate any grease. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl and whisk on low speed for 30 seconds, and increase the speed to medium. Beat until the egg whites have soft peaks, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar 1 spoonful at a time. One all of sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Divide the meringue into thirds and tint one third turquoise and another pink. Pipe one baking tray of medium-sized meringues and one tray of smaller meringues using different decorating tips of your choice (I used large plain round for smooth meringues, large open star for the textured pink meringues, and a small open star for the small textured white meringues). Sprinkle the white meringues with some white edible glitter, if desired.
    3. Baked both trays at the same time until crisp but not browned or discolored, about 1 hour for the smaller meringues, and 1 1/2 hours for the larger ones. You should be able to gently pull the meringue away from the parchment with no sticking. Store in plastic zip top bags at room temperature for up to 1 week. I made two batches of these meringues to experiment different shapes and sizes, and the leftovers make perfect little treats or gifts.

    For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray four 8-inch round cake pans (or however many you have--you will just have to wash and re-use for the remaining layers) with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
    4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the four cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 420 grams.
    5. Bake two layers at a time until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

    For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:

    1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches about 140°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
    2. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until meringue starts to thicken, about 1 minute, and then increase to high speed. Beat until thick, glossy, and cool (or neutral in temperature). Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Best used right away.

    For the Chocolate Glaze:

    1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.

    Assemble the Meringue Dream Cake:

    1. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of meringue frosting on top and sprinkle with a generous layer of crushed baked meringues (save the prettiest ones for the top of the cake). Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a "coat" of meringue frosting and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
    2. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of meringue frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
    3. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Gently place a variety of the baked meringues on top of the cake, as well as some crushed meringue and sprinkles, if desired.
    4. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, but best enjoyed day 1 (due to the meringue frosting).
    Sweetapolita's Notes: See you soon with another dose of sugar!  
    Rosie Alyea
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    Red Velvet Moon Pies

    Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita Happy February! So far 2015 has been off to pretty good start with the excitement of my first book hitting shelves in just over 9 weeks (finally!), as well as spring on the horizon. It hasn't been the worst winter I've ever experienced, but spring is always such an awakening, and it's hard to not count down the days. You know? With the book release coming, it will be a really different spring and summer for me--lots of travel and the chance to finally meet a lot of you guys, somehow, someway! I've kind of been living in a little baking bubble for the past few years (which I won't lie, is kind of my thing--I'm an introvert most days), but I guess it's easy to sort of hide behind and apron and a laptop sometimes. I'm just really excited to mix it up and host some fun book events and more. This weekend, cakelets and I made these Red Velvet Moon Pies, we're calling them. While a Moon Pie is an American treat, and I've never actually had one, I do know that they are these delightful treats made from two round graham cookies sandwiching marshmallow filling and covered in chocolate (Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker has an awesome homemade version recipe). Canada's answer to the Moon Pie, Wagon Wheels, is what I grew up snacking on, which are very similar and perfectly tasty. The thing is, after baking homemade treats for so long, going back and having a packaged treat just isn't the same (although there is a time and a place for an official Moon Pie and Wagon Wheel). When you make it yourself though, you get to go gangbusters with making each component as gourmet as you want, such as using real butter, vanilla bean, premium chocolate, and more. And we, of course, get to add sprinkles and add some magic. Although, if you're here visiting my blog, something tells me I don't need to convince you of this! Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita So we did a red velvet version, using a chewy and a homemade-chocolate-chip-cookie texture (these cookies are to die for even on their own--add a few white chocolate chips to the scooped cookie dough before baking for the ultimate cookie), a really marshmallowy, gooey, puffy vanilla bean filling, a deep dark chocolate coating, and a handful of colourful rainbow sprinkles. I figure these would make the perfect any-day treat, but also the ultimate homemade Valentine's Day delight. Aside from being red, what is it about Red Velvet anything that just shouts Valentine's Day? While the taste is subtly chocolate and slightly tangy, I guess it's the intense hue and the mysterious attraction of it? Either way, it just really works. Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita In a pinch you could use a pre-made marshmallow creme, such as Fluff or Jet Puffed, but honestly, the homemade version is to die for (this is the filling from the same Homemade Moon Pies I mentioned above). Sweet and sticky, and to die for. Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita I did try these with a milk chocolate coating, but they were too sweet in my opinion, so I went for a deep, dark (53.8% cocoa solids), but not too dark, premium chocolate which counteracts the super-sweet marshmallow filling perfectly. Not to mention the visual of dark chocolate and red velvet is particularly enchanting. Don't you think? Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita So voila! A Red Velvet Moon Pie, of sorts. This simple-to-make treat appears to be so much more time-consuming than it is (and I'm not just saying that, pinky swear), and has a has serious wow-factor. Cakelets (big and small) everywhere will rejoice!

    Red Velvet Moon Pies

    Chewy red velvet cookies sandwiched with vanilla bean marshmallow filling and topped with dark chocolate and sprinkles.

    For the Red Velvet Cookies:

    • 2 1/2 cups 325 g all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 stick + 6 tablespoons (210 g unsalted butter, softened)
    • 1 cup 200 g sugar
    • 1/2 cup 110 g light brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vinegar

    For the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling:

    • 2 egg whites (room temperature)
    • Pinch of cream of tartar
    • 2/3 cup 215 g light corn syrup
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup 125 g confectioners' sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    For the Chocolate Coating:

    • 12 ounces 340 g best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml vegetable oil

    For decorating:

    • Rainbow nonpareils

    Make the Red Velvet Cookies:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, and emulsion on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well-combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the vinegar.
    4. Decrease the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix. Using two spoons or a 50mm cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets about 2" apart. Bake for 9 minutes (be sure to not over-bake, or cookies will be dry and not soft and moist inside.) Allow to cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 10 minutes, and then gently transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.

    Make the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling:

    1. Wipe a stainless mixer bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice or vinegar to ensure it's grease-free. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl and begin to whip on low speed. Meanwhile, place the corn syrup in a small saucepan and clip on a candy thermometer. Turn the heat to medium-high and let the syrup bubble. While the syrup cooks, increase the mixer speed to high gradually and continue to beat the egg whites until firm. When the syrup reaches 235°F, keep the mixer to high speed and gradually pour the hot syrup in a steady stream. Continue to beat on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla bean. Reduce the mixer to low and add the confectioners' sugar. Best used the same day.

    Make the Chocolate Coating:

    1. In a double boiler, or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and oil until smooth.

    Assemble the Red Velvet Moon Pies:

    1. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the filling (or you can simply spread the filling with a spoon), and pipe a generous dollop on the underside of half of the cookies. Top each one with another cookie and gently press down to secure. Place the sandwiched cookies on a wire rack over a piece of wax paper (to catch the excess chocolate) and pour the coating on top of each one. Guide the coating down the sides with a small offset palette knife of spoon.
    2. Top with rainbow nonpareils and let sit at room temperature until firm. You can also place the tray in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
    3. The moon pies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    *Marshmallow filling recipe "barely" adapted from, as well as Chocolate Coating recipe.

    Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • For the red velvet cookies, I use LorAnn Oils Red Velvet Emulsion with its concentrated colour/flavour all in one, it’s worth it (to me), but you can substitute the emulsion for 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon red soft gel paste colour (AmeriColor Super Red works well).
    • I line my baking sheets with Silicone Baking Mats for ease and consistent baking results.
    • I always use a cookie scoop--I use the Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 50mm (3-Tablespoon) when making this kind of spooned cookie--especially when making a sandwich-style treat such as this one, because it ensures evenly shaped cookies.
    • For the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling I used Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, but you could also use the seeds from half of a vanilla bean or simply pure vanilla extract.
    • To make the Dark Chocolate Coating, I used Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 %.
    • I topped the moon pies with Rainbow Non-Pareils, but you could use any sprinkles you might love!
    Rosie Alyea
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    Euro-So-Sweet Cake

    Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita Hello, hello from the land of pink buttercream! Earlier this month my sister Michele celebrated a birthday, and unlike many other years I was able to see her right afterwards and make her a birthday cake! We live a few hours apart, and while we've seen a lot of each other in the past few months, it wasn't always that way. We both have a love for European-style desserts, much to do with our heritage I'm sure, but she really much prefers the not-so-sweet, rich, custard-like baked goods and desserts over anything typically birthday cake-ish. So with this in mind, along with the soon-to-be whirlwind that is Valentine's Day, I wanted to create a layer cake that she would love (which she did!), and that tied together some of my favourite Valentine's dessert flavours and textures: red velvet cake, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, raspberries, and more. Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita So, first I should point out that this isn't the kind of cake that will slice ever-so-perfectly (not that that should ever count unless of course you're trying to take lovely food photos!), but I think we all know that these are usually the most irresistible ones. But even still, please forgive what might be a slightly disheveled looking inside. What I can tell you, though, is that this cake will transport you to the sweetest of Euro cafes, and is one of the most decadent and delightful cakes I have ever made! So here's what we've got going on from the bottom up: moist dark chocolate cake topped with coffee-and-Tia Maria-moistened lady fingers, Tiramisu filling (mascarpone, sugar, eggs, etc.) with a dusting of cocoa powder, super-moist red velvet cake, raspberry preserves, rich and creamy Belgian chocolate mousse, and then another round of the same chocolate/Tiramisu and red velvet layer all frosted in pink Italian meringue buttercream. Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita And while these components all look a dream inside the cake, the best part, of course, is that the flavours and textures work so incredibly well together. With every bite there is something slightly different and wonderful going on--subtle hints of coffee and booze nestled in creamy mascarpone, light-as-air chocolate mousse, tender cake, fruity preserves, and rich vanilla buttercream. If you don't over-soak the lady fingers, there is just enough moisture to turn them into a vanilla cake layer that never dries out, and the red velvet and chocolate cake layers keep their moisture even with this cake in the refrigerator when not being served (a must for a cake with things like mascarpone, heavy cream fillings, mousse, etc.). Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita You'll notice that for the first time on the blog I've used Italian meringue buttercream, as opposed to my beloved Swiss meringue buttercream. The real difference between the two variations is the techniques we use to make them--for Swiss we warm the egg whites and sugar before whipping them into meringue and then beating in softened butter to create our buttercream; for Italian we add a hot sugar syrup made on the stove top to the soft peak meringue, beat until thick and glossy and then beat in the butter. In terms of the prepared buttercream, the difference is marginal (although some swear that Italian is more stable), but I think if you are a meringue buttercream lover, it's most definitely worth trying both methods and see what you think. Because with Swiss you need to stand at the stove and gently whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly for quite some time until they are hot and the sugar dissolves, I often prefer the efficient Italian method. Of course no matter what variation you go with, the result is the perfectly fluffy, rich, decadent buttercream. Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita I topped the cake with a simple red sugar rose I had in my arsenal of sprinkles and sugar decorations, and then just added a tiny turquoise leaf. The classic border piping is super quick and gives the cake that sweet bakeshop feel we all love. And don't be alarmed at the seemingly endless ingredients and steps in the recipe--it really is deceiving. The fillings and cake layers are small batches, and the only really time-consuming step is the chocolate mousse, with about 20 minutes stove-side stirring. But, as you can imagine, it's worth it. What better way to profess your love than to say it with cake?

    Euro-So-Sweet Cake

    Moist and tender red velvet and chocolate cake layers filled with "Euro" inspired Tiramisu, chocolate mousse, raspberry preserves, and frosted with rich and decadent pink vanilla Italian meringue buttercream.

    For the Chocolate Cake:

    • 2/3 cup 95 g all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup 135 g sugar
    • 1/4 cup 30 g dark cocoa powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml hot coffee
    • 3 tablespoon 45 ml vegetable oil
    • 1 egg (room temperature)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    For the Red Velvet Cake:

    • 1 cup 115 g cake flour, sifted
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup 35 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130 g sugar)
    • 3 tablespoons 45 ml vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons Red Velvet Emulsion (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
    • 1 egg (room temperature)
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml buttermilk, room temperature

    For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:

    • 10 egg whites (room temperature)
    • Pinch cream of tartar
    • 2 2/3 cups 525 g sugar
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml water
    • 3 cups 680 g unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
    • AmeriColor soft gel paste in Soft Pink

    For the Chocolate Mousse:

    • 2 eggs (separated, room temperature)
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml whole milk
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3 ounces 90 g dark chocolate, chopped or callets
    • 1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup 50 g sugar
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml heavy cream (35% cream)

    For the Tiramisu Layers:

    • 1 cup 240 ml heavy cream (35% cream)
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g sugar)
    • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the Italian meringue buttercream)
    • 1 275 g container Mascarpone cheese
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
    • 18-20 Savoiardi lady finger cookies (the firm kind)
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml espresso or coffee
    • 1 tablespoon Tia Maria liqueur (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (for dusting)
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml raspberry preserves
    • 1 sugar rose for decorating (optional)

    For the Chocolate Cake:

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and a parchment round.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar. Combine egg, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
    3. Bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean (a few crumbs), about 22 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then gently invert onto rack until completely cool.

    For the Red Velvet Cake:

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and a parchment round.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl or on top of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, oil and red velvet emulsion on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 7 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg, mixing until it is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
    4. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and whisk by hand until smooth.
    5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with small offset palette knife. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Try not to over-bake.
    6. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then gently invert onto rack until completely cool.

    For the Chocolate Mousse:

    1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the egg yolks, milk, and salt ,stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is close to boiling, about 20 minutes (patience required!). Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir in the alcohol and extract until combined. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl to cool.
    2. Whip the egg whites on the low speed until they become frothy. Increase speed to medium and gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form, about 1 more minute. Fold the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture.
    3. Whip the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form, about 40 seconds. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate/meringue mixture until combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

    For the Tiramisu Layers:

    1. Whip the heavy cream until stiff and chill. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and slightly thicker, about 2 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese, the extracts and the salt, and and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Fold in the whip cream until combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

    For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:

    1. Wipe the inside of the stainless bowl and whisk attachment of your mixer clean with lemon juice or vinegar, fit onto the mixer and add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together 2 1/4 cups (450 g) of the sugar and the water. Stop stirring. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a damp pastry brush. Clip on a candy thermometer and leave the mixture to bubble uninterrupted. When the sugar syrup reaches about 170°F, start to to whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed (let the syrup continue to cook) until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and gradually add the remaining (75 g) sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high speed and whip eggs whites to soft peaks, about 1 minute. Keep the mixer going, and when the sugar syrup reaches 240°F, promptly remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in a thin, steady stream into the meringue mixture and continue to whip the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy. When the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm, switch to the paddle attachment and, with the mixer on the lowest speed, add the cubes of butter one at a time.
    3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and continue to whip until all of the butter is incorporated and the buttercream is thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

    Assemble the Euro-So-Sweet Cake:

    1. On an 8-inch round cake board (or larger cake plate), put a small dollop of frosting. Use a long, sharp serrated knife to cut each cake layer in half horizontally. You will now have two thin red velvet layers and two thin chocolate cake layers.
    2. Place your first chocolate cake layer face-up on the board (or plate) on a cake turntable, and cover with a layer of lady fingers smooth-side down, breaking some if necessary to fit over entire layer.
    3. In a small bowl, combine the coffee and Tia Maria liqueur. Use a pastry brush to moisten each lady finger (just the tops) with the coffee mixture. Spread about 1 cup of the Tiramisu filling on top and dust with a layer of cocoa powder. Place one of the red velvet cake layers face-up on top and spread the raspberry preserves over the layer. Spread about 1 cup of chocolate mousse over the preserves.
    4. Place your remaining chocolate cake layer atop the mousse and repeat the Tiramisu layer (lady fingers, coffee brush, filling, cocoa powder). Carefully place the final red velvet cake layer on top, face-down. Gently adjust the cake so that it is straight and lined up properly. *Cake 911: If you find there are any spots where the fillings are oozing, fill those areas with some of the buttercream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    5. Add a few drops of the pink gel paste to the Italian Meringue Buttercream and stir well to blend colour and remove air bubbles. Frost the entire outside of the cake with the pink buttercream until you have a smooth layer, sealing in all crumbs. Refrigerate until the frosting firms up, about 30 minutes. Repeat with another layer of pink buttercream, working to achieve a smooth finish. Chill cake for at least 15 minutes. To create the piped borders, fit a medium pastry bag with a coupler and icing tip #22 and pipe a shell-style border along the top and bottom of the cake. Add a sugar rose, if desired.
    6. Keep refrigerated (this cake will stay moist) for up to 2 days, but serve at a cool room temperature.

    Chocolate Mousse recipe adapted from; Tiramisu filling adapted from GIOIA Savoiardi Lady Finger package.

    Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • For the chocolate cake I used Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder (extra brute).
    • For the red velvet cake, I use LorAnn Oils Red Velvet Emulsion with its concentrated colour/flavour all in one, it’s worth it (to me), but you can substitute the emulsion with 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon red soft gel paste colour (AmeriColor Super Red works well).
    • For the chocolate mousse I use Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 %, which is a versatile dark (but not intensely dark) chocolate perfect for anything from frosting to bark.
    • For the Italian meringue buttercream I use Americolor Soft Pink--a bright pink that can hold up once frosted.
    • To create the little rose leaf, I simply tinted a small amount of gum paste (you can use fondant) with AmeriColor Turquoise gel paste and cut out a little leaf.
    • For make ahead, you can prepare the Italian meringue buttercream up to a week ahead (keep refrigerated until the night before you need it, and thaw on counter, whipping for a few moments to bring back to smooth consistency), the cake layers up to 2 days ahead (kept wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature), and the chocolate mousse the night before.
    See you soon with another dose of decadence!
    Rosie Alyea
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    Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita So . . . are you officially pepperminted? Me too. But it was lovely and delicious. And, wow, the last day of the year? Eek! Maybe. Hooray! I'm not sure. I do know that 2015 will be a much different one for me, and I think it will be bigger and better for all of us. Some years just come bearing more than other years, which seem to come and go with minimal change or impact. But one thing I do know for certain, is that we will still all be baking ourselves happy. It's just what we do. And, of course this past month I've been baking even more than usual, which may have something to do with recently receiving my copy of Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito's latest book, Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations. You probably know by now that I am a big fan of the "Baked" boys, and for good reason--they rock. And while I cherish their first three books (Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinventedand Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients), I have to say that this one is my favourite. First off, I love that the book is organized by occasions and holidays (and not just the predictable ones--think Julia Child's Birthday, Gay PrideDolly Parton's Birthday, and more). It's kind of brilliant. Secondly, I feel as though the boys have kicked the whole game up a notch. Sure, this book is quintessential "Baked" with its decadence and approachability, but I feel the recipes are even more inventive and irresistible. Heavy hits of sprinkles, colour, and creativity don't hurt either. This book has it all. Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita So I decided to dive in and bake their "Gonzo" cake, which is Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting created in honor of Hunter S. Thompson's Birthday. I can't help but think of an old high school writer boyfriend who was rather enchanted by the antics of one crazed Hunter S. Thompson and his "Gonzo" style journalism. Who knew that memory would come back upon opening a fabulous baking book? See, you just never know what can be when you bake. ;) Anyway, when it comes to cake, I'm a sucker for anything "velvet," and, well, you know how I feel about colour and sprinkles. I decided to celebrate the "purple" with a medley of my favourite purple-and-such sprinkles, which is fun hint of what's to come when the cake is sliced and served (and in my house where there is purple, there is turquoise--Frozen much? #cakelets #frozenfever). Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita And don't let the purple cake and sprinkles fool you--this cake is so much more than just a dose of dazzling dye. While the purple is enhanced by a few drops of soft gel paste (or you could use regular food colouring), the main source of the rich purple hue is the purple yam powder--a unique ingredient that lends to a moist cake with, as the boys says, a wine-like taste and texture similar to red velvet cake. The dominant flavour of the cake is not "yam-ish" but rather a sweet (but not too sweet) earthy taste that is hard to describe. The flavour and texture of the purple yam cake and lends beautifully to the classic, tangy cream cheese frosting although, much like red velvet, I think it would also pair well with a classic sweet cake frosting. What I love that is colour and flavour of the cake are so unexpected and distinct, and that after the first bite I wanted to keep tasting more so that I could, aside from eat more cake, solve the mystery that is purple yam powder. Odd and delightful all at once. Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita Hooray for purple cake and sprinkles! And for Baked Occasions, of course. And the awesomeness doesn't end with the Gonzo Cake. I have a long to-bake list from this book, and I almost don't know where to start. Some of the recipes calling my name are the Rainbow Icebox Cake with Homemade Chocolate Cookies, Tricolor Cake (Italian Christmas Cookie Cake), Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips, and I could go on and on . . . bakedoccasions581 So before we embark upon those, or all of the other awesomeness in the book, let's bake the Gonzo Cake!

    Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Gonzo Cake} from Baked Occasions

    Gonzo Cake from the book Baked Occasions. Moist purple velvet cake filled and frosted with classic cream cheese frosting and topped with a medley of sprinkles.

    For the Purple Velvet Cake:

    • 1 4-ounce/115 g package purple yam powder (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons; see Note)
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml canola oil or other vegetable oil
    • 2 1/4 cups 285 g cake flour
    • 3/4 cup 90 g all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 4 ounces 1 stick/115 g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
    • 1/4 cup 50 g vegetable shortening, at room temperature
    • 2 cups 400 g granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    • Blue and red food dyes or gels
    • 4 large egg whites (at room temperature)

    For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

    • 3 cups 340 g confectioners' sugar
    • 8 ounces 2 sticks/225 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 8-ounce/226-g packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    Make the Purple Velvet Cake:

    1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (165˚C). Butter three 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
    2. In a small saucepan over very low heat, stir together 2 cups (480 ml) of water with the purple yam powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is rehydrated, between 5 and 20 minute depending on the heat. Once the mixture looks and feels like mashed potatoes (or mashed yams) remove it from the heat and whisk in the canola oil.
    3. In a large bowl, sift both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until cream, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in three equal parts, alternating with the purple yam mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
    5. Mix equal drops of red and blue food dyes in a small bowl to make purple, then scrape it into the cake batter and mix until a pale purple color is achieved.
    6. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites by hand or in your standing mixer until soft peaks form, do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
    7. Divide the batter equally among all three pans. Use your spatula to spread the batter evenly. Bake the cakes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

    Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

    1. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a large bowl and set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
    3. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, if using, and salt and beat just until smooth; do not overbeat or the frosting will lose structure. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. (The frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead; cover the bowl tightly, refrigerate, and let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)

    Assemble the Gonzo Cake:

    1. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and even spread about 1 1/4 cups (330 g) of the frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Trim the top layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake (a crumb coat, which helps to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake) and place it in the refrigerator to firm up, about 15 minutes.
    2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the outer edge of the top of the cake with the sprinkles, if you like. Chill the cake in the refrigerator to set the frosting, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

    How to Store:

    1. This cake can be covered in a cake saver in a cool room for up to 3 days. If you refrigerate it, make sure to cover it tightly and bring it back to room temperature before serving.
    A Note from the Baked Boys about Substituting Sweet Potatoes for Yam Powder:  When you swap out just one ingredient--obscure purple yam powder for standard mashed sweet potatoes--something amazing happens. Essentially you get a whole new cake: entirely different, but entirely delicious on its own. The main difference is the texture. While the texture of the Purple Velvet cake is akin to a red velvet, this potato version has more in common with an apple cake. Here's how to do it: 1. Swap the yam powder in the recipe for 2 cups (420 g) roasted, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes. Ideally use fresh sweet potatoes, though canned puree without any other ingredients should be okay. 2. Bake the mashed sweet potato cake layers slightly longer than the yam powder layers, 5 to 7 more minutes. Omit the purple food dye. The mashed sweet potato cake is a pretty sherbet-orange color, and the purple dye will just ruin it. Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • For the yam powder I ordered and used this Powdered Purple Yam.
    • For the purple gel paste, I used Americolor Regal Purple.
    • For the purple sprinkle medley, I used a combination of Purple Sixlets (large candy-coated chocolate "sprinkles), Candy Beads in Lavender, Lavender Jimmies, turquoise jimmies + pastel pink jimmies (these were homemade sprinkles I made, but you could use any in these colours for the same effect), and a few Edible Gold Stars. Add equal parts of all of the sprinkles into a plastic zip-top bag and shake to mix. Simply add the sprinkle medley around the other edge of the cake and voila! Purple sprinkles galore!
    Wishing you a safe New Year's Eve filled with utter love and sparkle, friends! xo 
    Rosie Alyea
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    Gilded Reindeer and Santa Cookies

    Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita Merry, Merry, friends! I'm sorry for posting these cookies so close to Christmas, but I couldn't resist sharing them with you--better late than never, perhaps? We've certainly been cookie-ing more than normal this year, and I really wanted to make some decorated cookies for my cakelets' teachers, so this is what we came up with: super-cute-and-slightly-sauced-looking-Santa paired with his fancy-but-adorable reindeer. The things Christmas cookie dreams are made of, we think. Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita The reindeer are simple white and gilded and their big pink candy noses are super-cute. I came across a few gilded antler deer cookies on Pinterest and I loved the idea, because the sweetness of the reindeer's face paired with the elegance of the gold antlers is a perfect holiday cookie, in my opinion. An ideal New Year's cookie too! Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita We went for a "cute" Santa as well, because I'm convinced that cute cookies are always irresistible and possibly more fun to make than even the fanciest of designs. For Santa I used the design on the cutter box for inspiration, but gave him teeny, tiny eyes and shiny pink nose, which makes us giggle (too many rum & eggnogs, Santa?), and of course a poofy moustache, just 'cause. We used The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie recipe I posted awhile ago--some with the more mild fancy molasses, and some with the darker cooking molasses--because one thing about classic gingerbread men that my cakelets always point out is they just don't have enough icing. They LOVE royal icing (I think everyone does, really), and these frosted delights did the trick. 51C5zCeaRZL For our Santa and reindeer shapes, I used my Meri Meri Jingle All The Way Cutters (I'm obsessed), which really inspired me to create these cookies at all. Of course you can use any Santa or deer/reindeer cutters you may have or come across. I think this would work well on many different styles. What holiday cookies did you create this year? Okay, so let's make these cookies! The girls and I are actually making another round of these on Christmas Day, to bring to our family gathering a few days later. Can't wait!

    Gilded Reindeer and Santa Cookies

    • 1 recipe The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie
    • 2 recipes Royal Icing
    • AmeriColor gel paste colours in Gold (Super Red)
    • Food marker in black
    • Luster Dust in gold (see Notes)
    • Sixlets in Pink (for the reindeer noses)
    • Candy beads in pink (for Santa's nose)
    • Petal Dust in pink or red (for Santa's cheeks)
    • White nonpareils (for Santa's pom pom)

    You will also need:

    • Disposable medium-sized pastry bags
    • Couplers
    • Pastry tips #3 (20)
    • 2 food-safe small paint brushes
    1. Roll out the cookie dough using the santa and reindeer cutters, and bake according to recipe. Let cool completely. Prepare the Royal Icing and keep well-covered with plastic wrap.
    2. Tint about 1 1/2 cups of icing gold using using AmeriColor gold gel paste. Add a few drops of water and stir until the icing flows with a 10-second consistency (a line run through the icing with a knife with disappear in 10-seconds). Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and #3 pastry tip with about 3/4 cup of gold icing and cover the remaining gold icing with plastic wrap. Pipe the antlers on each reindeer.
    3. Use the black food marker to outline the shape of Santa's face on each cookie. Add a drop of red gel paste to the remaining gold icing to create a skin-tone icing. Add the icing to another pastry bag fitted with a coupler and another #3 tip, and outline and fill each Santa face using the black marker outline as your guide.
    4. Fill another two-thirds full with pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip with 10-second consistency white icing and outline and fill the entire reindeer below the antlers. Let dry completely, overnight if possible.
    5. Use the same white icing to outline and fill Santa's beard and rim of his hat. Let dry completely, overnight if possible. Reserve the remaining royal icing and keep covered with plastic wrap.
    6. Once the cookies are dry, tint about 1 cup of 10-second icing red and fill another pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip no more than two-thirds full. Outline and fill Santa's hat and let dry.
    7. Mix a small amount of the gold luster dust with clear extract or vodka, and use a food-safe paint brush to paint the reindeer antlers. Use the black food marker to draw on the reindeer's eyelashes and Santa's eyes.
    8. Use another small food-safe paint brush to dust on a very tiny bit of red or pink petal dust onto Santa's cheeks.
    9. Use the thicker, un-thinned reserved royal icing to "glue" on the pink sixlets for the reindeer's nose. Fill a pastry bag fitted with pastry tip #20 (or similar) with about 1 cup of reserved icing and pipe Santa's moustache. Add a pink candy bead nose by pressing into the top of each moustache. Pipe a dollop of frosting on the top of Santa's hat and sprinkle with white nonpareils.
    Sweetapolita's Notes: I will be back right after Christmas with another sweet recipe, but I sincerely hope you have a magical holiday season, my friends! xo  
    Rosie Alyea
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    The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie

    The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetpolita Tis the season for much joy, family, and holiday shopping, but also that of butter and sugar, that's for certain. Although for some of us that sugar-filled season is all year round. But since gingerbread is the quintessential holiday baked good, I have a special place in my heart for it. And, believe it or not, it's one of the only things I bake that both my kids love to eat. And of course they have heaps of fun decorating them. I think we all do! I think it's because it really doesn't take much to transform a cut-out gingerbread person into a delightful little rosy-cheeked man with a face almost too sweet to bite. Just like that they come to life--hello!. Aaand then we eat'em all up--goodbye. The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetapolita Aside from being super-cute and lovable to look at, what do you think makes the "perfect" gingerbread cookie recipe? For me it's a combination of things--very important things. First, the texture of the cookie needs to be fairly crispy along the outside with a semi-soft, cake-like inside, and like all "perfect" cut-out cookies, they definitely need to keep their shape when baked. Secondly, they must taste sweet but notably spicy, and have a rich molasses flavour. Essentially they *must* taste like Christmas. The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetapolita And while I think that there are many wonderful gingerbread recipes out there (including the recipe I often used and shared for the Jumbo Gingerbread Folk whom I continue to love and adore), I've found this variation to be one of favourites. I've made them with both "cooking molasses," which lends to a robust, dark cookie (as shown in these photos), and with a much milder "fancy molasses," as shown in the photos below with my cakelets. Both are delightful, and of course it's personal preference on the intensity of the molasses flavour in your cookie. I just happen to love both the taste and the dark colour the cooking molasses lends. The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetapolita Of course this gingerbread tastes just as amazing baked up as gingerbread houses, stars, unicorns, or anything else you or your cakelets feel inclined to create, but my heart belongs to the classic gingerbread boys. Kind of hard not to smile when you see them, which of course makes them perfect for sharing and gifting. The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetapolita We've had many a gingerbread baking and decorating party here, and will squeeze a few more in before this season ends because it's one of those things that genuinely makes my cakelets happy and perfectly content. I often bake several batches and freeze them undecorated, so that when the urge strikes we can pop a few out of the freezer and get our decorating fix. It works really well for rainy days and other times the kids get bored (other types of cutout cookies also work well!). The Perfect Gingerbread Cookies via Sweetapolita Let the gingerbread making begin! Or, well, continue. The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie via Sweetapolita And for other "perfect" cut-out cookie recipes, try my The Perfect Sugar Cookie and The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipes. Let us cookie for the rest of eternity! When we're not caking, that is. :) December 22, 2014 note: I slightly decreased the molasses in this recipe, because I feel it makes for a bit more of a crisp cookie that maintains it's semi-soft center. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:110] Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • As mentioned in the post, I like to use cooking molasses for a dark, robust cookie. For a milder variety, try using fancy molasses.
    • To create gingerbread families, I love this Gingerbread Family Cookie Cutter Set.
    • Try using best-quality (and fresh) spices, such as Vietnamese Cinnamon (this stuff is also pretty amazing in my Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Buns and other desserts where cinnamon is the star).
    • Use Royal Icing to decorate your heart out, and have fun with the cookie decorating! Let cakelets use pretty much any kind of candy and have fun experimenting with different "outfits" for the gingerbread folk--candies, licorice, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and more.
    • Happy Holiday'ing! xo
    Rosie Alyea
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    580_Final 2014 Gift Guide

    Sweetapolita's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide + (Epic) Giveaway!

    580_Final 2014 Gift Guide

     (to enlarge image, click it, click the zoom magnifier and then the slide bar to enlarge)

    Happy Holidays, cute-stuff-loving friends! For the past few weeks I've been doing oodles of store browsing, both online and otherwise, and suffice it to say there are so many freakin' cute things out there! Holy fluff. Like most people, I absolutely love buying things for others--it just feels good. But this year, more than ever before, I'm finding it hard to resist sneaking in little things for you know who in between all of my gift-buying. So as a baker and lover of all things pretty and pastel, I can tell you that if you are trying to find something unique and memorable for someone who loves to bake, this year might be a good time to opt for something irresistible, over something practical--something that will bring a huge dose of happy to your peeps. So I've created this collection of some of my favourite gifts to give fellow bakers, and because you guys are THE best baking friends in the universe, I'm giving 1 lucky winner EVERYTHING shown in the above gift guide! Hooray! Here's more about the cute-as-heck goodies: 1. Jessie Steele Pink Polka Dot Oven Mitt: Because bows and polka-dot-anything make us happy. And a baker can never have too many oven mitts. #burnedamilliononthestovetop 2. KitchenAid Pink Classic Mixing Bowls: These lightweight, nesting mixing bowls are the perfect sizes, have convenient spouts, and a rubber grip bottom. Oh, and I think it's been scientifically proven that all things made in pink bowls taste better. 3. Stainless Steel Heart Measuring Spoons: I've been using these exact spoons for a few years, and while my drawer is full of measuring spoons, I always grab these first. While most bakers already have measuring spoons, they likely find they need a few sets on the go. 4. Jessie Steele Bubbly Celebration Apron: Chances are your baker friend already has a few aprons, but getting a crisp new, stylish apron is much like fun pajamas--we can never have too many yet we find it hard to splurge on them. 5. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera (shown in blue, but they also come in pastel yellow, pink, white): Chances are, if a baker bakes, he/she also loves to snap photos of their goodies. These frosting-coloured instant cameras are always the life of the party.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

    6. Glitterville Vintage Style Tin Birthday Cake Carrier: Anything adorned with the words "Everything is better with cake and frosting!" is a pretty much a go, and the adorable colours, stripes, scallops, and vintage vibe of this cake tin don't hurt either. We all love cake stands, but I find a lot of us don't actually have a cake carrier for transporting our cakes. This also looks beyond charming atop the counter.

    7. Frosted Cupcake Glass Ornaments: Dessert-themed ornaments, especially the frosty old world variety, make the loveliest of gifts and won't break the bank. Who doesn't want to celebrate their love for baking upon their holiday tree?

    8. Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke: This unique cookbook by Amanda from I am Baker is visually stunning and teaches readers, step-by-step, how to wow a crowd with her signature surprise-inside cakes. Baking books forever and ever. Amen.

    9. MIU France Set of 4 Pastel Spatulas: Because bakers love frosting-coloured anything, and we all need a truck load of spatulas.

    10. Unicorn Sprinkles Shaker: Come on. A unicorn sprinkles shaker . . . what dreams are made of.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

    11. Mega (3.4 lb) Jar of Sprinkles: Pretty sure I don't need to tell you why getting a huge (3.4 lb) jar of sprinkles would rock someone's world. You might even witness some tears of joy.

    12. Nesting Heart Cutter Set: Cookie cutters are always a thoughtful and inspiring gift, but cookie cutter sets are super fun and functional. And just think of how many cookies will be born because of you.

    13. PJ Salvage Cookies & Milk Flannel PJ Set: Jammies to the stars! Dare you not to smile when you see happy cookies and milk staring up at you. Giving someone new pyjamas is like giving them a new lease on life, and these are just freaking adorable.

    14. Philosophy Pink Marshmallow Buttercream Shower Gel: I love Philosophy anything, and they do dessert bath products up right. I almost fainted when I saw this Pink Marshmallow Buttercream collection, and I can't think of a better way to say I love you than with pink, frosting-scented shower gel.

    15. Eat More Cake Mug by PJ Salvage: Because where there is cake, there is coffee.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

    16. "Icing and Quotes" Ice Cream Bowl Set by Cake Boss: Cakey words and frosting squiggles--say no more.

    17. Whitbread Wilkinson Pantone Coffee Maker: This colour--oh, this colour. Perfect for the coffee enthusiast who wants to brew their own espresso stovetop. It's also perfect for brewing espresso for the baked good recipes that call for such. Truth be told, I'd be happy just keeping it out to relish in its loveliness.

    18. Pink Ice Cream Cone Kitchen Timer: How can something so functional be so darn cute? Love this.

    19. Cupcake Yummy Pillow: This entire collection of "yummy" pillows is pretty crazy cute, but my heart belongs to this one. It's *almost* too realistic--you literally want to take a bite. A definite conversation piece! We have this one, and my cakelets can't get over it.

    20. Jumbo Pink Buttercream Frosted Cupcake Wood Diecut: Simply put, everything Jenny and Aaron do is amazing, adorable, and beyond gift-worthy, but these jumbo dessert wood diecuts are to, well, die for. I have this cupcake hanging in my kitchen, and it brings me great joy--every day.

    Enter below to win all of this pastel goodness! Good luck to you! xo

    Rosie Alyea
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    Double Chocolate Party Cake

    Double Chocolate Party Cake via Sweetapolita Hello, friends! Another party cake? Absolutely. So what makes a cake a party cake exactly? Well, technically I think any layer cake could be considered a party cake, but maybe it's the presence of sprinkles that warrants the name? Must be. Must be the sprinkles. Or maybe it's the glossy swirls of frosting. Or in this case, the heaps of Belgian milk and dark chocolate transformed into a chocoholic's dream. Come to think of it, I don't think you need a party to enjoy a party cake. Either way, this cake is party-ready and really all about the chocolate. We fill and frost three layers of decadent dark chocolate butter cake with the swirls of one of the most glorious chocolate fudge frostings I've ever tasted and let the chocolate shine. Double Chocolate Party Cake via Sweetapolita What I love about this frosting, aside from how quick and easy it is to make, is that it really isn't very sweet--think more fudgey and decadent--since premium chocolate is the main ingredient. I add a dollop of sour cream to add a creamy richness, and only a small bit of confectioners' sugar to balance out the chocolate. We use mostly milk chocolate this time, though, as opposed to my much-loved dark chocolate frostings (like this intense and wonderful glossy dark chocolate frosting), which results in a dessert simple enough to please cakelets aplenty and decadent enough to please adults alike. Double Chocolate Party Cake via Sweetapolita The cake itself if a version of this moist dark chocolate cake made with butter, dark cocoa powder, and a hit of mayonnaise for moisture, among other cakey ingredients. It takes a few moments to make than our beloved one-bowl chocolate cake recipes, but has a richness only butter can bring to the table. Smother it all in this chocolate lovers' dreamy frosting and a medley of happy-happy sprinkles, and it's definitely a party. Double Chocolate Party Cake via Sweetapolita Vintage Candles via Sweetapolita Yes, it's official--it's a party! And here's a little random side-note: I cannot stop buying vintage birthday candles. Between ebay, etsy, and junk store shopping, I'm always on the lookout and each one is such a treasure. My collection is growing and just looking at these quirky little boxes makes me happy. As does this cake. So, let's make this cake! Double Chocolate Party Cake via Sweetapolita

    Double Chocolate Party Cake

    Decadent chocolate butter cake filled and frosted with a rich, creamy and not-so-sweet chocolate fudge frosting and topped with a medley of sprinkles.

    For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

    • 1 1/2 sticks (170 g unsalted butter, softened)
    • 1 3/4 cups 450 g packed light brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons 10 ml pure vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
    • 1 3/4 cups 220 g all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup 90 g Dutch-process dark cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/3 cups 320 ml buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons 10 ml white vinegar

    For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

    • 1 1/2 cups 340 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup 60 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
    • 1/2 cup 60 g dark cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1/3 cup 80 ml hot water
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 10 ounces 290 g milk chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled slightly
    • 5 ounces 150 g dark chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled slightly
    • Sprinkle medley (for decorating (see Sweetapolita's Notes))

    For the Chocolate Butter Cake Layers:

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment rounds.
    2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
    3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
    4. Lower the mixer speed to low, and alternate dry ingredients and the buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry). Mix until just incorporated, then fold mayonnaise into batter with a whisk, until just blended. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda (it will foam) and quickly add to batter, mixing until just combined.
    5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan for 450 g each (excluding the pans--you will want to tare the scale each time.) Smooth the batter with small offset palette knife, and bake the first 2 layers until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean, about 25 minutes (don't over-bake). Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Repeat with the final layer. Let cool completely.

    For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

    1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
    2. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

    Assembly of the Double Chocolate Party Cake:

    1. Put your first layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and wiggle the layers into place, if necessary. Refrigerate the cake until firm, about 30 minutes.
    2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place on a turntable, if using. Frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 15 minutes. Use the remaining frosting to create a textured finish by spreading with a medium palette knife.
    3. Cover the perimeter of the cake with a medley of sprinkles (see Sweetapolita's Notes) and serve. The cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 3 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
    Sweetapolita's Notes: See you in a few days with a very special Holiday Gift Guide + Giveaway!
    Rosie Alyea
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